2017년 11월 1일 수요일

[발췌: 윌라 캐서, 오 개척자여!] 마지막 결론적 발화들에 대한 논평


※ 발췌 (excerpts):

출처 1: Andrew R.L. Cayton, Richard Sisson, Chris Zacher. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia. Indiana University Press. 2006.
자료: 구글도서

Born in Virginia in 1873, Willa Cather moved with her family to Red Cloud, Nebraska, at the age of nine. She left the Midwest in 1896, spending much of her life in New York City, where she completed her two best-known novels, ^O Pioneers!^(1913) and ^My Antonia^(1918). Both works were inspired by Cather's life on the Nebraska prairie.

The novels tell the stories of two remarkable women--Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, and Antonioa Shimerda, the daughter of Czech immigrants. Both come to Nebraska during its difficult early years, and the settlement landscape that  Cather describes is harsh indeed. The prairie is depicted as being "like a horse that no one knows how to break to harness, that runs wild and kicks things to pieces." The land seems as if it "wanted to be let alone, to preserve its own fierce strength, its peculiar savage kind of beauty, its uninterrupted mournfulness." Despite the unforgiving prairie, and despite blizzards, droughts, and sickness, Alexandra and Antonio love the land and draw excitement from it. "There was nothing but land," Cather writes, "not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made. ... I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away."  It is on the land and with the soil that Alexandra and Antonia are best able to express and understand themselves.

Alexandra and Antonia survice the difficult times, and are well-educated by poverty. After years of struggle, the shaggy carpet of prairie grass begins to vanish, replaced by a checkerboard of wheat and corn anchored in mile-long furrows of rich soil. All the human effort of the pioneers comes back in "long, sweeping lines of fertility." Alexandra tells a friend, "The land did it. It had  a little joke. It pretended to be poor because nobody knew how to work it right; and then, all at once, it worked itself. It woke up out of its sleep and stretched itself, and it was so big, so rich, that we suddenly found we were rich, just from sitting still."

There is a sense in Cather's writing that the true character of the Midwst comes out of these hard times, and that this spirit is, in fact, challenged by successful times. Some prairie residents become self-righteous, provincial and conceited as they become comfortable, and both Alexandra and Antonia meet tragedy amid the prosperity.

Still, in the end they both endure. The land, and the novel character of those that care for it, endures. In the closing pages of ^O Pioneers!^, Alexandra tells a childhood friend that "the land belongs to the future. ... We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it--for a little while."


출처 2: http://virtualdebris.co.uk/page/university-essay-o-pioneers


출처 3: Susan. J. Rosowski. The Voyage Perilous: Willa Cather's Romanticism. U of Nebraska Press, 2001.
자료: 구글도서

( ... ... ) She accepts that possession is impossible, of people and of the land. Others have an integrity of their own--Marie is not just a married woman and Emilis not simply her brother--and we may possess nature only by loving it, for we live in it as a sojourner: 'We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it--for a little while"

The overwhelming effect of the concluding scene is of timelessness. The narrator, drawing back, joins age and youth, life and death, the present and the universal: ( ... ... )


출처 4: Ann Moseley, Sarah Cheney Watson. Willa Cather and Aestheticism. Fairleigh Dickinson, 2012.
자료: 구글도서

( ... ... ) Alexandra's final words in the novel are important: "We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it--for a little while". Clearly tied to Alexandra's belief that one only comes to "love" and "understand" through enterprise is her commentary on the transitory and speculative nature of ownership. ( ... ... )

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